Spotify tunes into Bollywood pitch, ropes in Anil Kapoor for TV campaign

Topics Spotify | OTT

Anil Kapoor and Ishan Khattar are the faces of Spotify in its first big multimedia campaign in the country
Five months since it started streaming into India, Spotify is dialling in a local tune. With Bollywood on its playlist, movie stars as brand endorsers and a campaign on TV and digital around the ongoing cricket World Cup, Spotify is leaving no trope unturned in its quest for the Indian listener. In this the Swedish-born, global music streaming app is doing what a number of global brands navigating their way through the country’s complex consumer landscape have done, but does it risk losing its unique identity in the process?

The company is confident that it is time to go mass. Hence a television campaign, something that very few music streaming platforms have done yet, focusing largely on digital and outdoor. And this is also the reason that it has used Bollywood actors Anil Kapoor and Ishaan Khattar for the campaign. The two represent the two ends of the demographic segment that the streaming app wants to appeal to.

Amarjit Batra, managing director-India, Spotify says, “The first campaign (digital and outdoor) was to tell those who know about us that we are now available in India, with the same robust library of playlists that we are known for. With the television commercial, we are going mass, getting the fringe users in.”

Experts point out that music streaming apps have to go all out to expand the listener list now because there still is huge room for growth. According to a report by Deloitte and Indian Music Industry (Audio OTT economy in India– Inflection point) “India has an online video audience of more than 225 million, which is expected to grow to 500 million by the end of CY 2020. In comparison, the audio digital music audience is around 150 million subscribers, which is only 60 percent of the online video audience, indicating the significant growth opportunity in the audio OTT space.” While this does dilute the identity of the brand with its core base of listeners, it cannot afford to ignore the genre in India, they say. This was also the rationale for an early tie-up with T-Series for its Bollywood library.

The Spotify campaign has been conceptualized by Leo Burnett and is derived from the insight that music attracts people from all age groups, and can be a unifier across generations. And the goal of the communication is to convey the width and depth of Spotify’s music catalogue. “Since our launch in India, we’ve engaged with our listeners based on how they experience music. The new campaign reinforces how seamlessly Spotify fits into their lives,” Batra explains.

Rajdeepak Das, managing director India and chief creative officer South Asia, Leo Burnett adds, “The youth in India often deals with the pressures of judgement, individuality, social norms, and more; in this chaos, music acts as a companion.” He believes that the father-son relationship is also portrayed within a contemporary context, in tune with the brand’s core value.

Campaigns however can only take it a short distance, listener experience is the key and as several consumer reports have pointed out, digital entertainment apps face a huge challenge in meeting customer expectations on this score. Spotify says it is working on the uniquely Indian issues that clog up the streaming business, it has introduced features like ‘Spotify lite’ a lighter version of the app which enables users with entry level smartphones to use the app. It also uses a lower bandwidth so users in areas with low mobile internet connectivity can also stream music. However Spotify may also need to take a look at the price-value matrix as it is currently the most expensive monthly pack (with Amazon Prime Music) at Rs 129.

Batra believes that the brand has managed a keen grasp of the Indian listener in the months it spend researching the market. “One of the things we learnt when we researched the market was that in India, while people love to listen to music, they don’t consciously go about discovering music. So we have daily playlists generated depending the user’s listening history. This helps in discovering new music,” Batra says.

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